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C.H. Smith

C.H. Smith

Federal (USV)


Charles Henry Smith

(1827 - 1902)

Home State: Maine

Education: Waterville (now Colby) College, Class of 1856

Branch of Service: Cavalry

Unit: 1st Maine Cavalry

Before Antietam

A 33 year old teacher and law student in Eastport, he enrolled on 23 September 1861 and mustered as Captain of Company D, 1st Maine Cavalry on 19 October 1861.

On the Campaign

He led his Company on the early part of the Maryland Campaign. He was appointed Provost Marshal of Frederick, MD on 13 September and was there until rejoining his Company on 16 January 1863.

The rest of the War

He was commissioned Major on 16 February 1863 and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 26 March 1863. He was appointed Colonel to date from 17 June after Colonel Douty died. He led the regiment through 1863 and was in command of the brigade briefly in early 1864. Back with his regiment, he was wounded in action at St. Mary's Church, VA on 24 June 1864:

Colonel Smith, at the head of his regiment, was wounded in the thigh, but, keeping his seat, led his brave men into the thickest of the fight, where his horse was shot from under him. Mounting another, he again was in the lead. Again his horse was shot from under him, throwing him heavily to the ground. A third horse was secured, and in the retreat, after two hours of the fiercest cavalry fighting, the colonel, although again wounded, remained with his men, fighting the pursuing rebels until darkness put an end to this unequal contest.
He was later awarded the Medal of Honor for that action.

He returned to duty on 20 August and again commanded the brigade. He was wounded again, at Reams' Station, VA on 23 August but remained with his command. He was assigned a new brigade, led them to Appomattox in April 1865, and mustered out at the end of his term of service on 30 July 1865 in Augusta, ME. He was honored by brevet to Brigadier General of Volunteers (August 1864) for his actions at St. Mary's Church and to Major General, Volunteers (March 1865) for "highly distinguished" war service.

After the War

He was admitted to the bar in Eastport in 1865 and was elected State Senator in 1866, but was appointed Colonel of the 28th United States Infantry on 28 July 1866. He transferred to the 19th Infantry on 15 March 1869 as part of an Army reorganization. In that month he was also awarded brevets in the Regular Army, to Brigadier General for St. Mary's Church, and Major General for his war service. He retired from the Army on 1 November 1895.

References & notes

His service from Tobie1 and Heitman.2 The quote above from Deeds.3 Personal details from family genealogists. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a CDV sold by Cowan's Auctions in 2013.

He married Mary Richards Livermore (1835-1897) in July 1864 while he was on wounded furlough and they had two children after the war.

More on the Web

A collection of his papers and other materials are in the collection of Colby College [finding aid].


11/01/1827; Hollis Center, ME


07/07/1902; Washington, DC; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA


1   Tobie, Edward Parsons, History of the First Maine Cavalry, 1861-1865, Boston: Press of Emery & Hughes, 1887, pp. 452-54, 513  [AotW citation 25454]

2   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 895  [AotW citation 25455]

3   Beyer, Walter F., and Oscar F. Keydel, compilers, Deeds of Valor: How America's Heroes Won the Medal of Honor , Detroit: The Perrien-Keydel Company, 1901, Vol. 1, pg. 369  [AotW citation 25456]